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May 9th - Lecture #2.doc

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Adam Lehto

May 9 th RLG203 Lecture #2 Introduction to Christianity - converting to Judaism was a possibility o not a strongly missionary position o but it was an option o welcomed into the Jewish community - however, you could learn about Jewish teaching, writings, …. ? - view that God of Israel was a God of faith, god of everyone o you could now worship this God without converting to Judaism** - it wouldn’t work as a factor unless that interpretation happened o if Paul had not been walking around and was being presented as a Jewish figure – Hi I’m Paul and I’m here to convert you to Judaism – not much of a selling point – more traditionalist version of Jesus had been presented to the ------ ? - the Jewish assumption - Jesus figure – monotheism – important part of o Representation of the divine o If you’re on the spiritual quest of the world, and you need a realm to the divine – Jesus was being presented as the one true divine of the God – access to the divine – the Jewish connection is a reality this way  works only in cases with interpretation - ability to endure under persecution st th o basic idea – frequently show up from 1 to 4 Centruy – Constantine brings an end to …. ? revolution – 3 centuries, this idea shows up – Christians need to be punish because they bring instability to …?  Not so much that they are Christians – opting out of the behaviour that is supposed to be  To honour and worship God?  Could they do that and still be Christians - if you were Pagan, you can honour all kinds of deities o but if you were Christian in the ancient world, that was off the table – if you did go and sacrifice to a deity – not an option to be a Christian and continue to worship the emperor or Gods (what?) - we will pay to the rulers, pay respect to the rulers, but we will not treat the Emperors as Gods o we will not worship any other Gods than ONE TRUE GOD o we not planning to overthrow the state – we are good law abiding citizens, we are morally upright, but we cannot  it was assumed that if you don’t participate in the civic • if there was a plague, famine, natural disaster – they will be singled out for being the reason - Jews have been around for a long time o Jews had this privileged position  allowed to be exempt from these practises  Jews were seen as an antique religion/tradition – respected • loop holes – special status in the world - Christians are newcomers – if they had stayed in the Jewish community o they would have had the same privileges  the more they exposed themselves of charges • accused of atheism – they were atheists from the Roman perspective • answer: because they were against Gods - stepping out of Judaism – early 2 nd century – the biggest downfall for Christians - martyrs – the ability of people dying for what they believe in o stepped out from the legal umbrella of Judaism – consequences included capital punishment (really?) o assumption that the resurrection of Jesus had signalled the general resurrection  can face death without fear – Jesus died and took their fears  died happy – not afraid to die - what might have motivated these people that really did follow the footsteps of Christ – often the image o saw themselves as being involved in a spiritual battle o they were not political figures o involved in a cosmic struggle – the real action was behind the scenes – cosmic battle between God and the devil o they did not want to lose their souls - if that is your mindset – big part of your motivation - the martyrs as spiritual warriors** - death by martyrdom – seen as a way of perfecting one’s soul o related to Greek philosophy o becoming a Martyr was a way of fast-tracking that process – immense reward – if you sacrifice your life for Jesus - should these people be seen as heroes? - Martyrs were convinced not to jeopardize their salvation o Not to been as psychologically balanced/imbalanced – but in the context, we need to understand the community that supported them, and the worldview they had – there is a certain rationale to this - they ended up being shining examples for the rest of the community o they were written about – put on pedestals – they’re seen as the ultimate examples of Christian virtue  signposts to salvation  ways to emulate – more committed way to act - they become a very important factor in the encouragement of the community - but what about the non-Christians? o ex. Pagans  while viewing the death of Christians o Pagans – why can’t they be normal – who are they – why are they dying for this
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